Directed by Lisa Siwe, Ramon Salazar and Henry Blake, the BBC original “Red Rose” shows us how data theft could impact our lives. It is troubling because in this day and age, each and every regime has the required tools and the power to encroach upon your privacy and use it to impact your lives. Obviously, the series goes to great lengths for dramatic and creative purposes, personifying that concept into something literally life-threatening, but we shouldn’t underestimate the impact that even a relatively minor data leak can have on our lives. The consequences of misusing data on social networking sites for voter manipulation or having access to a person’s entire life, as depicted in the film, are terrifying. So, let’s find out what “Red Rose” is all about, who created it, and who was the person pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
‘Red Rose’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?
It all started when Rochelle Mason downloaded the Red Rose app, and it started having an adverse impact on her life. The game was simple: it assured the player that they would get what they wanted if they followed the rules and did the task that they were given. The game used a very complex AI, and it felt like one was in the presence of an actual human being. Whoever downloaded the app gave it complete access to their data, which meant that as long as they were around any electronic device capable of being connected to the internet, their movements could be tracked, and the communication they were having could be tampered with. Rochelle and Wren, who used to be thick as thieves, started having a lot of misunderstandings between them due to Rochelle’s sudden change of attitude. Wren did not understand what she was up to, and after a point, Rochelle also knew that everything sounded so absurd that even if she tried explaining it, nobody would believe her.
Rochelle had lost her mother a while back, but Red Rose made her believe that she could be brought back to life. The app made sure that its users alienated themselves from their family and friends, and then it started messing with their minds. Whatever messages Rochelle had been sending to her friends were not getting delivered, though she was under the impression that they were purposely not responding to her. Rochelle tried telling her friends about the Red Rose app, but somehow the app didn’t show up on her mobile whenever she tried doing that. Her friends began to suspect that she was suffering from a mental disorder because doing things an app told her to do didn’t make any sense.
At times, Wren, Antony, and others thought that Rochelle was trying to escape the accusations, which is why she was making such illogical theories about why she acted in such an erratic and destructive manner. Another thing that was working against Rochelle was that her videos were posted on social media without her knowing about it. Just before the catastrophe struck, Rochelle started feeling like she was being haunted by a supernatural spirit. Rochelle died in her bathtub, and the authorities thought that it was a suicide, though Wren knew that her friend could never take her life and that there was something more to it. After Rochelle’s death, Wren got the same notification for downloading the Red Rose app, but it was not until the group met Jaya, a fellow student and a brilliant coder, that they were able to see the bigger picture.
Who Had Created The Deadly App?
It all started with an infatuation, which over time, became an obsession. Before Jacob Taylor could realize what he had done and to whom he had given control of his creation, the damage had already been done. Jacob loved Alyssa, but he could never confess his feelings. Alyssa didn’t even know that he harbored such strong feelings, and for her, he was like any other classmate. Jacob was a genius when it came to technology, and he created something that nobody could imagine. Jacob wanted to talk to Alyssa and get to know her better, which he was obviously not able to do in real life. But in the virtual world, he knew, he could maintain his anonymity and talk to her and then maybe use that information to help his cause.
It is important to state here that though Jacob had created a potentially dangerous application, he didn’t have any intention of hurting Alyssa. He was not opting for a very ethical way to get to know her and, in a way, was betraying her trust, but Jacob thought that it would one day lead to him being able to approach her in real life and get her to like him. After he sent the link of the Red Rose to Alyssa, she downloaded it, and they began talking to each other. From her favorite books to her hobbies, Jacob got to know about all her likes and dislikes. Jacob had created a mini community of fellow coders where he could allow them to witness the chat happening live while being in a virtual space called the observation room. So, it was basically like players connecting from different parts of the world to play a game together, the only difference being that only Jacob could chat, as he was the only admin.
The other members in the chat room were constantly provoking Jacob to propose to Alyssa, and there came a time when that constant mocking made Jacob do something that he knew he would regret in the future. The members were sarcastically commenting on how Jacob was too scared to ask Alyssa out on a date, and he lost his temper and decided to prove his worth. Jacob came up with a code that gave him the master access. He had spotted the weakness of the software and conducted a zero-day exploit that gave him complete access to her camera, files, and whatever data was present online. Jacob got scared for a moment, as he knew that it was a gross violation of privacy and that he could be charged by a court of law for doing that. Jacob realized that now was probably the time to tell Alyssa how he felt about her. To his disappointment, Alyssa told him that, though she liked him as a person, she didn’t feel for him the way he wanted her to. Jacob couldn’t take the rejection, and he fell prey to the bait that was laid for him by a psychopath who just wanted to seize the opportunity.
‘Red Rose’ Ending Explained: Who Was The Gardener? What Did the Gardener Want?
Wren, Noah, Antony, Taz, and Ashley believed that Jaya had died when her house was set on fire. Even Ashley had been attacked, but she somehow managed to survive, though she had been admitted to the hospital as her condition was very critical. The Red Rose community was no less than a cult, and the members started identifying potential victims and then wreaked havoc in their lives. Wren and others knew that no one was safe, but they had such little information that they didn’t know what to do other than follow the lead that they were given. All they knew was that someone going by the pseudonym “Gardener” was running the entire puppet show, and they needed to stop him or her at all costs.
“The Gardener” had messaged Jacob privately after the latter’s offer was turned down by Alyssa. Just like Jacob had found the weak spot of the software and hacked it, the Gardener had discovered the vulnerabilities of Jacob and hit the bull’s eye. Firstly, Gardner showed her empathetic side so that she could win Jacob’s trust. Nobody had ever tried to do that, and it meant a lot to Jacob to be asked how he was feeling on the inside. Gardner told Jacob that if he made her the administrator, then she had a few plans that she could implement and bring his love story back on track. Jacob felt flattered when he was told that Red Rose was a beautiful tool, and with a few tweaks here and there, a lot could be accomplished through it. The thought of being with Alyssa overpowered everything, and Jacob made Gardener the admin without even knowing who she really was.
After a couple of weeks, Jacob found Alyssa looking scared, and his intuition told him that it was because of something that was happening on the Red Rose app. That day, he went back home after school and logged in to the chat room to find out how his software had been converted into a potential weapon. The Gardener had access to everything that was connected via the internet in Alyssa’s life. Jacob got scared, and he rushed to her house to save her, but before he could do that, she jumped from her terrace and gave her life. Jacob tried threatening the Gardener, but he realized that he couldn’t do anything about it. Jacob blamed himself for ruining Alyssa’s life. He couldn’t deal with his guilt and helplessness, and most likely committed suicide sometime after that incident. It could also be possible that the Gardener perceived him as a potential threat and had killed him and then made his death look like a suicide.
Noah was kidnapped by a lady, and she had every intention of killing him, but at the last moment, she changed her mind and decided to let him go. This sinister lady wanted to spice things up, and it was all a game to her. Meanwhile, Wren went to look for her father, who knew that his life was in danger. When she reached his home, she got a call on a phone that had been kept there for her, and she was told her father was taken to Le Mans Crescent. Wren arrived at the location and discovered a bald man with a frightening demeanor, whom she mistook for the Gardener, was holding her father there. Wren also saw some video footage, which made her realize that Rochelle might not have committed suicide and that she could have been murdered by the Gardener.
Wren killed the bald man while Jaya provided support from the backend and deleted the app. Rick asked Wren to escape from the murder scene, and he took the blame for killing the bald guy upon himself. The friends also reached Le Mans Crescent, as the same mysterious lady who had kidnapped Noah had told him about the place. They believed that the Gardener had been killed and that they had ended their nightmare, but it was not so. The lady who had kidnapped Noah was the Gardener (though she never explicitly confirmed it and always kept the possibilities open). Jaya didn’t reveal anything to her friends, as she didn’t want them to get paranoid after all that had happened in their lives. But for how long would she be able to hold that secret? That is something that we will witness in the subsequent seasons of “Red Rose.”
What Should We Expect From ‘Red Rose’ Season 2?
The lady who used the pseudonym “The Gardener” had crooked sensibilities, and we could ascertain that from the limited conversation she had with Jaya and Noah. It felt as if she wanted to put people in situations where they would be forced to leave their morals and values and do something that they didn’t think they were capable of. She said that everybody is capable of being cruel under the right circumstances, and she wanted to see how far people could go. She told Jaya towards the end of the eighth episode that though she had deleted the app, she couldn’t delete the idea, she couldn’t delete how sadistic, selfish, immoral and cruel people could be in real life.
The game is clearly not over, as the authorities don’t have any evidence because the app has been deleted, and secondly, it doesn’t look like the Gardener is done playing games with the lives of the people. At the end of “Red Rose” Season 1, we saw that people in Tokyo got the same notification, and it is possible that the Gardener might have moved her base operations to Japan. It could also be the case that the idea has spread worldwide, and people from many other countries are joining the cult.
Jaya knew that Wren had become the Gardener’s personal favorite, and she was fascinated by the possibilities of what she could do. She is still obsessed with understanding human behavior and testing its limits and the way she shrugged when she was asked by Jaya if the game was over, was evidence that she wasn’t done yet. In “Red Rose” Season 2 (if there is any), we will get to know what the Gardener has in mind and whether she will once again come back to wreak havoc in the lives of the people of Bolton.